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Have I Got an Idea for Your Next Novel!

Writers are lucky. As soon as we let strangers know we make up stories and publish them, we’re greeted with smiles and comments of delight. (An undertaker may not get the same response.) Even more excitement comes if the strangers are readers looking for their next book to dive into. If my genre peaks their interest, people I’ve just met are googling my website and clicking on my book before I finish explaining my plot. (Technology gives us luck, too.) Nowadays if I pitch adroitly to an eager reader, I can make a sale in minutes without my book in hand!)


One reason for this quick show of support: Everyone has a story to tell and yearns to write it, but few have taken the steps to complete the tale and publish it. People admire those of us who have taken the arduous steps to finish a book; they are astounded by writers like me, who have published a dozen books.


Those who have given up on writing their own story, figure someone else (like me) could write it. Soon after I tell strangers I am I writer of mysteries, they try plot ideas out on me, ones they’ve conjured or personal experiences they consider worthy of a novel. One man wanted me to write about a priest who gives intense counseling to a couple about to be married, then later beds and marries the bride. Another fellow heard about a hidden treasure worthy of writing about, probably thinking by my plotting the story, I’d help him find the prize. A woman I met on my river cruise offered up the true story of her murdered mother, thinking it had the grit and intrigue to round out a novel.


Contributing research is another way strangers generously support writers. As soon as I explain the topics covered in one of my new novels, my audience is eager to provide experts and suggest avenues for making my story as authentic as possible. For my current story, I need to learn why leaded ammunition is decimating our raptor population, most notably, the California condor. Presently I’m on a river cruise on the Douro River in Portugal with 73 other passengers. When one man learned about my topic, he offered up his forensic veterinarian sister-in-law to help me answer my questions. I already have her email address and can’t wait to seek answers I’d be hard-pressed to find on the internet.


I welcome these offerings, pleased with the general encouragement people give me as well as the specific ideas they are willing to share. At our base, we are storytellers, enchanted by the idea that characters, plot lines, and themes can be captured by words. We want our stories to live on, our humble gifts to readers who come after us.



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